30 Years of Man Crushes – The Ultimate Timeline for Children of the 80s


<– See 1982 – 1989

Zack Morris | 1990 – 1991

Here’s where it gets a little creepy, and I think it was the age thing. I’ve always thought of a crush of any kind as a sort of hopeless, irrepressible adoration for someone unattainable. Whether it’s age, distance, logistics- there has to be some mitigating factor that vastly diminishes your chances with the object of your affection.

But with Zack Morris it all feels kinda creepy. Not only does it seem like a fallacy to call it a “man crush”, since in the early 90s neither of us were “men”, but I also feel like Zack Morris is the kind of guy who would be uncomfortable if he knew you had a man crush on him. I don’t know, maybe I’m over thinking this. I mean- did he say anything about me? I just liked his hair.


Dan Marino | 1992 – 1998

I really didn’t get into sports at all until the late 80s, and at that point it was primarily baseball (see earlier man crush). Relative to my peers, I was late to the NFL party. Once aboard, I pledged my undying allegiance to the Miami Dolphins based on two factors: they played in Florida, a state I loved based on our yearly visits to see my grandparents, and they had a franchise QB with a rocket arm and piercing blue eyes.

Marino’s appearance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a movie I was especially pumped for in 1994, would further cement the legacy of what could be considered one of my top 3 man crushes to date.


Stone Cold Steve Austin | 1999 – 2000

Steve Austin currently hosts a podcast, and from time to time he reads emails from his listeners. My late 90s man crush on Stone Cold can best be described by the email I sent in to the show in April:


I’m writing to thank you for making a huge impact on my life. By the mid-90s my father and I had grown apart, him being a strict former cop and US Marshall, and me being a punk college kid yearning for freedom. We lived 6 states away from each other and rarely spoke. There was no bad blood, but physical and emotional distance for sure.

One day he called me and leaned on the one thing that we had mutually shared since I was a young boy: our love of professional wrestling. He asked if I had been watching lately, and asked if I had seen this “Stone Cold Steve Austin guy”? He knew that what you were doing in the WWE at that time would be right up my alley. He was a huge fan of yours as well, and we began checking in with each other more often and chatting about your weekly appearances on Raw. I even made a surprise trip home in 1998 to watch the Highway to Hell Summerslam with him.

My dad passed away unexpectedly in 2005, but I’m convinced that I was able to share a lot more great years with him than I would have if you hadn’t come along and given us a common rally point. I can never thank you enough for that.

Thanks again, Stone Cold.


Ryan Reynolds | 2000 – 2006, 2008 – 2012

One of the longest running man crushes in my 30 year timeline, this fellow could do no wrong for quite some time. I’ve been a Ryan Reynolds guy (a “Ry Guy”? Eww.) since he played Berg on Two Guys and a Girl. It certainly helped that I had a hetero super-crush on his castmate Traylor Howard at the time, as my attraction to her initially drew me into the show. My point is, I was on the Reynolds train well before People named him Sexiest Man Alive in 2010. My wife and I saw Van Wilder opening weekend.

Although widely considered disappointing films, the fact that Reynolds went on to play my favorite DC Comics character and co-star in a movie with Jason Bateman (a near-top man crush) were just two of the many factors that kept him atop the mountain for over a decade.


Justin Timberlake | 2006 – 2007

The first time I realized that my feelings for Justin Timberlake were indeed a textbook man crush was around Christmas of 2006. By then I knew he was more than just “the *NSYNC guy”, and I found him entertaining enough, but his turn hosting the 2006 holiday episode of SNL launched him into the man-crush-osphere (I’m running out of colloquialisms here).

I’m just gonna say it: there are two high profile bromances that I’m jealous of, and both involve Justin Timberlake. I love the creative relationship between Timberlake and Andy Samberg, and Timberlake-Fallon is the best bromance this side of McKellan-Stewart. Timberlake seems like “a guy’s guy”, only the “guy” in this case is wicked rich, talented at everything on Earth (seriously, golf too?!) and married to Jessica Biel. You know, typical “guy stuff”.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt | 2013

It was a Howard Stern interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt that allowed the former child star to end Ryan Reynolds’ decade-long run (with brief Timberlake Interlude) as my primary man crush.

JGL was promoting Don Jon, and his sincerity and genuine personality confirmed what his performances had always suggested- that he was just a fantastic guy. I will root for Joseph Gordon-Levitt in anything he does.


Stephen Amell | 2014 – current

Here we are. I always say “Live in the now”, except I never say that, it just seemed like a nice way to intro my current man crush. The final entry on this 30 year timeline stars in The CW series Arrow, and hosts the most engaging and genuine celebrity social media account there is.

To follow Stephen Amell on Facebook is to feel like you truly know him, as nothing he posts is filtered through a publicist or geared toward self-promotion. The pictures he posts of his family and his honest reactions to nerdy news bits (like the rumors of Green Arrow appearing in Batman vs Superman) are just a sample of the admirable and sincere things he shares daily.

Stephen Amell could ignite many a man crush on his looks alone, but the fact that he seems like a guy you would legitimately want to grab a beer and watch hockey with earns him the top spot today.

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